Studies: More than half of the patients do not understand their doctor

Studies: More than half of the patients do not understand their doctor

Health topics: Every second German is overwhelmed by a flood of information
According to a recent study, over half of Germans feel overwhelmed by the flood of information on health issues. In particular, people with little education, senior citizens and migrants are not very competent in health issues. The problem is now to be countered with the "National Action Plan on Health Competence".

Many patients do not understand their doctor
Again and again, studies show that many patients do not understand their doctor. The health knowledge of the Germans leaves much to be desired. A representative study by the University of Bielefeld has now shown that more than half of the citizens feel overwhelmed by the flood of information on health issues.According to a press release from the university, around 44 percent of Germans have limited and another ten percent even have inadequate health literacy on.

Differentiate research results from advertising offers
According to the information, Germany is not only below the European average, but also falls significantly compared to comparable countries such as the Netherlands or Denmark. Bielefeld University, the AOK Federal Association and the Hertie School of Governance want to counteract this with a “National Action Plan on Health Competence”. The patron is Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe (CDU). According to a press release from the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), the minister said: "More than half of the people in Germany find it difficult to find their way around the ever increasing wealth of health information and to make decisions for their own health. This has to shake up all those responsible in the healthcare system. Fast access to more and more information on the Internet is both an opportunity and a challenge. Because the latest scientific research results are not always easy to distinguish from advertising offers and interest-based recommendations on the Internet. ”

"Easy-to-understand health information" is required
“Independent, scientifically proven and easily understandable health information is required. The doctor-patient discussion is crucial to explain the diagnosis and treatment to patients in an understandable manner. Because the more patients know about prevention, clinical pictures and treatment options, the better they can prevent diseases and make informed decisions that support therapy and healing. We now need a joint effort from doctors, health insurance companies, pharmacies, nursing, consumer and self-help associations and authorities to improve health knowledge across Germany. To do this, all those responsible in health care must be at a table. The national action plan for health literacy ’, for which I am very happy to take over the patronage, is an important building block for this,” continued Gröhe. The politician had advocated improvements in this area years ago and, among other things, demanded that doctors be better trained in dealing with patients.

Germany does poorly in a European comparison
“Health literacy” means finding, understanding and implementing health information. Bielefeld University asked the Ipsos research institute to survey 2,000 people over the age of 15 for the first representative study on the health literacy of the population in Germany. The basis was the internationally tested questionnaire "Health Literacy Questionaire Europe". Two results are said to stand out: Over half of Germans apparently have difficulty understanding and processing health-related information. This applies in particular to so-called vulnerable groups, i.e. people with a migration background, low level of education or old age. The restrictions and uncertainties in dealing with health information are particularly pronounced here. Germany's poor performance compared to other European countries is also striking. According to the information, the same survey in the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland or Poland showed significantly higher competence values. In a European comparison, Germany is below average.

Strategy for strengthening health literacy
Head of Studies Professor Dr. Doris Schaeffer from Bielefeld University considers the results to be questionable: “A lot has been done in recent years to improve the health information of the population. But the results show that this is far from enough. We have to rethink the way information is prepared, processed and conveyed. ”The expert announced that she would work with a group of recognized experts over the next two years to develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to strengthen health literacy. "We need a coordinated concept of measures, a national action plan that sets concrete impulses for action and not only reaches the healthcare system, but also the education sector and research."

Information and secure knowledge for a healthy lifestyle
Martin Litsch, Chairman of the AOK Federation said: “Today, healthy living requires information and reliable knowledge. What influence do diet and exercise have on my body? What can I do to stay fit? But also the small print on the food packaging, which makes the decision healthy or not seldom transparent. Internet knowledge can help with all of this if it is going well. But the study shows that it is more likely to cause confusion and a queasy feeling, which is often googled. ”This distrust is also justified for pharmaceutical companies behind many websites on health topics. The provision of sometimes senseless "individual health services" in medical practices is also a problem. Litsch announced that it would further expand the AOK fact boxes. This new information format conveys available medical knowledge in a comprehensible, compact way and strengthens the orientation in the sea of ​​information through its compass function. The AOK will publish a number of additional fact boxes this year, for example on the topics of dietary supplements or high blood pressure. (ad)

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